CHICOPEE (CBS) -- Chicopee schools superintendent Lynn Clark has been asked to resign after she was arrested Wednesday on a charge of making false statements. Prosecutors allege that she sent threatening text messages to a candidate for police chief in the city last year.
According to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins' office and the FBI's Boston branch, one of the candidates for the position got "threatening messages" from unknown numbers.
"On Dec. 3, 2021, law enforcement received a report that a candidate for the position was receiving threats intended to force the victim to withdraw their application for Chicopee Chief of Police," prosecutors said. "Specifically, in November 2021, after submitting their application for Chief of Police, the victim received numerous text messages from unknown numbers containing threats to expose information that would cause the victim reputational harm."
Investigators said records show that Clark sent "approximately 99 threatening messages" from fake phone numbers bought through a mobile app.
Prosecutors said Clark denied sending the texts on multiple occasions and suggested they were sent by others, including "City employees, the victim's colleagues and a member of Clark's own family." But later, Clark "admitted that she indeed sent the messages," according to prosecutors.
The false statements charge can be punished with a prison sentence of up to five years and a $10,000 fine. The 51-year-old Belchertown resident appeared in Springfield federal court Wednesday.
Chicopee Mayor John Vieau first reported to the FBI in December that threats had derailed the police chief search process, according to a criminal complaint.
"Today's arrest is disheartening for the City of Chicopee," he said.
The school committee met Wednesday night and voted 8-3 to place Clark on paid leave and to ask for her resignation.
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